The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote has said that the pull back of investments on hydrocarbon development projects by the oil majors and international financial institutions is indeed a challenge for oil producing countries such as Nigeria
Speaking at the 9th Anniversary Lecture of Realnews magazine in Lagos Southwest Nigeria, Mr Wabote said that revenues obtained from the sale of the hydrocarbon resources would remain “key drivers of the economies of the African oil and gas producing countries”.
Delivering the lecture titled “Nigeria in the Unfolding Integration of the African Market: Oil and Gas Perspective”, Wabote disclosed that Africa’s industrialization agenda is at the heart of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) and fossil fuels remains a very significant part of the energy mix required for industrializing the continent.
Wabote explained that resolving the impending challenge of investments in the oil and gas industry are the key areas of focus that can be used to address this challenge, include the collaborative platform provided by AFCFTA to provide funding and the technology required to operate and develop hydrocarbon projects.
He said the second is to have in place an investment-friendly law such as the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, which would come in handy to attract much needed funds for project developments when the effect of the premature halting of new hydrocarbon projects lead to supply shortages with attendant unbearable price hikes.
According to him, there is the need to increase in-country hydrocarbon resource utilization for crude oil, this can be realized through massive refining and production of petrochemicals.
He noted that the Africa’s oil map reveals the rapid spread of the discovery of hydrocarbon, especially in the last two decades.
“Between 2005 and 2015 alone, we had Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, and Senegal as new additions to the league of countries with hydrocarbon resources.
Evidently, Africa is practically sitting in oil and gas reservoirs.
“In this year alone, Namibia announced discovery of 120 billion barrels of oil comparable to the Permian Basin in Texas, USA.
Other discoveries include the 2 billion barrels discovered in Cote D’Ivoire, 700million barrels in Ghana, and 250million barrels in Angola.
“With proven crude oil reserve of 37 billion barrels of oil which is the 11th largest in the world and proven gas reserve of 206 TCF, which is the 9th largest in the world, Nigeria is also well known as a strategic player in the global oil and gas industry.
He added that it is estimated that even if the current gas consumption level in Nigeria is doubled, the gas reserves could still last for 50 years and that Nigeria is highly dependent on revenues from the oil and gas industry to power its economy.
With the huge existing, newly discovered, and the yet to be discovered hydrocarbon resources across the African continent, it is pertinent to evaluate the implication of the unfolding integration of African market on the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
According to him, AFCFTA remains a game changer in turning the fortunes of the continent around as the economic and social benefits cut across multiple sectors such as trade, education, health, finance, agriculture, transportation, manufacturing, and even the oil and gas industry.
Earlier, the organizer of the event and Publisher of Realnews magazine Online, Maureen Chigbo said the choice of the 2021 topic is borne out of the realization that Nigeria’s economy is heavily dependent on oil, but thought of weaning the country of the dependence and emphasize on gas especially with the declaration of the decade for gas in Nigeria by the federal government.
She said the lecture would provide a guide to achieve the objective, especially as more oil and gas are being discovered in some countries in Africa at a time the integration of the African market through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has begun and emphasis is shifting to sustainable renewable energy resources.
The forum provided opportunity to discuss Africa’s economic development, especially against the background of the ongoing debate on the AfCFTA, which its implementation began in January 2021,amid controversy over the adoption of a regional currency by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and how it will affect exploitation of oil and gas resources in Nigeria and the continent in general.
Expert harps on development of hydrocarbon projects in Nigeria